17 May 2021

Launching the Prison Leavers Innovation Challenge

Guest blog: Sarah Wilson, Policy Lead, Ministry of Justice as part of our #DigitalJustice2021 week.

Two weeks ago, Minister Alex Chalk welcomed a panel of experts from across the tech community and criminal justice space to take part in a roundtable event, discussing opportunities for tech innovation to help reduce crime.

The panel shared insights about the many digital developments already being rolled out in prisons and probation services and outlined some of the exciting opportunities for innovation. The discussion made clear the huge appetite for tech transformation and scope for testing new solutions in this space.

So we are delighted that this week we were able to launch the Prison Leavers Innovation Challenge. This is the digital and technological strand of the Prison Leavers Project - a £20m innovation programme that aims to develop new solutions to reduce reoffending.

What is the PLIC?

The PLIC looks to the UK’s brilliant tech start-ups and innovators for technology-based solutions to problems that we know contribute to patterns of crime and reoffending.

As discussed at the roundtable, start-ups and tech companies are well placed to come up with innovative tech solutions, injecting agility and dynamism into complex policy challenges.

Through the PLIC small businesses and start-ups can apply for funding of up to £350,000 to develop and test their solutions to key challenges faced by people leaving prison.

What are the challenges?

Over the past few months, we’ve engaged stakeholders across Government, including those with experience and expertise in the criminal justice system, to understand the thorny issues in relation to reoffending. Using these insights, we’ve developed six ‘challenge statements’ - specific problems within the criminal justice space that we think start-ups and tech companies have the potential to solve.

Based around four key themes (health, community and relationships, work and skills, and the day of release from prison) we believe these challenge statements have the potential to generate novel, scalable solutions which will deliver meaningful impact. You can find out more about the challenge statements on the PLIC webpage.

Applications for the Prison Leavers Innovation Challenge are open until the 13th June. You can find guidance and application documents also on the webpage.

Georgie Morgan

Georgie Morgan

Head of Justice and Emergency Services, techUK

Ella Gago-Brookes

Team Assistant, Markets, techUK

Cinzia Miatto

Cinzia Miatto

Programme Manager - Justice & Emergency Services, techUK

Georgina Maratheftis

Georgina Maratheftis

Associate Director, Local Public Services, techUK

Raya Tsolova

Programme Manager, techUK